10 November, 2006

The Buck stops here

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama): “If every American back in 1950 had quit buying novels and invested money in high-yield bonds, today we would be looking at a savings surplus of several trillion dollars, and Social Security would not be in the mess it’s in. Instead, we know what happened—most of the money wound up in the pockets of one unscrupulous novelist, Pearl S. Buck, with the disastrous consequences of which we are too well aware. The fact that that woman never spent a day in jail is a disgrace to the history of our nation. I would ask every American, before you lavish your next paycheck on expensive novels you may not need, consider the other spending choices available. You could expand your cable service, visit a casino, make a political donation, give to a faith-based concern, or put the money in something the brokers call a flort. I think we all know a little bit better how our earnings should be spent than the average novel-writer does.”

Over at the New Yorker, Ian Frazier's hilarious take on the economic consequences of buying books. Don't miss Ben Bernanke's explanation of what a flort is.

And while you're there, you might as well check out Rachel Cohen's piece on Leonard Woolf which reminds us that Woolf's attempt was to come up with a work that

"would have the stature of the books Leonard Woolf’s friends had written. By 1931, Lytton Strachey had published “Eminent Victorians” and “Queen Victoria,” John Maynard Keynes “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” Roger Fry “Vision and Design,” Edward Morgan Forster “Howards End” and (with Leonard Woolf’s years of careful encouragement) “A Passage to India,” and Virginia Woolf, for whom her husband was bulwark and first reader, seven novels, including “To the Lighthouse” and, in 1931, “The Waves,”"

With friends like that, who needs competition.

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